For the daughter and wife of Anvay Naik, who died by suicide in May 2018 at their Alibaug bungalow along with his mother, the arrest of three persons whom he had named in the suicide note, including Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, “is the first step in the battle for justice” that has been ongoing for two years.
Adnya Naik, Anvay’s daughter, told The Indian Express on Wednesday, “Goswami has been doing shows about the suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput and aggressively seeking arrests even though no suicide note was left behind. In the case of my father and grandmother, they left behind a suicide note specifically naming Goswami and two others but no action was taken against them for nearly two years.”
While Anvay was the managing director of Mumbai-based architectural and interior designing firm Concorde Designs, his mother Kumud, who was also found dead in the bungalow along with him, was on the board of directors of the firm.
In a suicide note left behind by Anvay, he had said that he and his mother were taking the extreme step on account of payments due to them from three persons — Goswami of Republic TV, Feroz Shaikh of IcastX/Skimedia and Niteish Sarda of Smartworks. All three were arrested on Wednesday.
Adnya and her mother Akshata said they have done everything from starting a YouTube channel, writing to the Prime Minister’ Office to approaching Goswami himself, in order to get justice.
“Right from the day of the suicide, there has been pressure on us to not get an FIR lodged. The police then told us that powerful people were involved and we should not get an FIR registered. However, when we insisted, an FIR was registered,” Adnya said.
Also an interior designer, Adnya alleged that around January last year, her mother and she met investigating officer Suresh Varade in the Alibaug traffic police station. “He spoke to us nicely and asked us to sign a statement that said we we wanted to take the complaint back. We were shocked. When we tried taking a photograph of the statement, he pushed us and tore it,” she said.
“We spoke to Raigad SP Anil Paraskar about it the next day but he did not do anything. Whenever we met him, he kept saying the investigation is on.”
A departmental inquiry has been ordered by the IG (Konkan Range) against Varade, currently posted as the senior inspector at Virar police station, for “wilfully omitting facts” during investigation. When contacted, Varde said, “I do not want to comment. I will face the inquiry.”
While Paraskar also refused to comment, an officer said the family had complained to the SP about the incident. “Varade had then said that he was just notifying the family that a closure report was being filed,” a senior officer said.
Adnya alleged that the worst part was that they were not even aware of the Raigad police filing a closure report in the case for want of evidence. “It was only in a statement issued by Republic TV this year that we came to know that the case has been closed. We then asked our lawyers to get the necessary paperwork. Earlier, it had taken us eight months to get the suicide note.”
She added that they also faced threats, especially after her mother started posting videos online. “We had filed four non-cognizable complaints — two each with Dadar and Murbad police. After uploading videos on social media, we received threatening phone calls… In Murbad, a bike-borne person told me that he knew where we were staying,” said Adnya.
Following the four complaints, the police had issued a notice to Goswami to sign a bond of good behaviour. On allegations of Goswami being arrested due to political vendetta, Akshata said, “This is justice for a family that had been fighting against powerful people like Goswami. Only people who do not know about our struggle can make such statements.” “What has happened to us has not happened to the families of the politicians alleging political vendetta,” Adnya added.
“We do not want to make this political. It is about a family seeking justice for two of its members. Even now, when we see the emails written by my father to Arnab asking him to return dues of Rs 83 lakh, we start crying. He had mailed him a couple of times the month before his suicide and called it ‘a matter of life and death’ in the mail, but there was no response,” Adnya said.
Republic TV said it has already settled nearly 90 per cent of the dues. It added: “Despite multiple emails, messages to Mrs Akshata Naik and Ms Adnya Naik regarding willingness to ensure a full and final settlement, no concrete response has been received. Mrs Akshata Naik demanded in the past that all payments due to Concorde be made to third party vendors but ARG is contractually obligated to make all payments to CDPL and not third parties.”
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